tv FDR Goes to War CSPAN May 14, 2017 8:00am-9:06am EDT
>> burton and anita folsum discuss their book, "fdr goes to war: how expanded executive power, spiraling national debt, and restricted civil liberties shaped wartime america." they contend that franklin d. roosevelt used world war i for his agenda. curtailed civil liberties and excessive spending that left the country ill-prepared for the japanese attack on pearl harbor, and the subsequent u.s. entry into world war ii. cat a pentateuch --the hosted thistitute event in 2012. >> good. we are glad to have you folks are and we are proud to say that
in two months, the construction of our building will be complete. for now, we are glad to be over here at the other croft auditorium to discuss this book "fdr goes to war." makeg time ago, i want to old high school in may. kentucky, and in my senior year, the high coed of school newspaper, "the cardinal." classmates, anita prince, got married to burton folsum, she got to history degrees and that -- got two history degrees she got two history degrees. her co-author and has been is burton folsum, jr., who holds a
phd from the university of pittsburgh. pittsburgh last follows saw something i had never heard of, which i am surprised at -- the cathedral of learning, which is the second tallest university building in the world, the tallest one, as you might guess is in moscow. building things bigger was doing something better, but this is a 42 story building. the first few floors are built like a gothic cathedral. it is an amazing thing. a few are ever in pittsburgh, go if yound some time -- are ever in pittsburgh, go and spend some time in the cathedral of learning. burton folsum serves as a senior historian at the economic of education.
he has published seven books, including "the myth of the explainsrons," were he entrepreneurs, and the differences between crony capitalism and the free enterprise. administration -- his the roosevelt book came out in the fall of 2008 -- his work on the administration of franklin d. on thelt -- his work administration. said in my book, in many ways, we still living in the washington that roosevelt don't -- built.
as a dominant figure in the political system, all of that goes back to fdr's transformation of politics and policy. it is important to study and understand how fdr governed and how he changed what had gone before. it also has an additional importance for libertarians. that is, the libertarian movement arose in opposition to roosevelt's new deal and imperial presidency. particularly, if you want to pick a date and say when did the libertarian movement began? libertarian movements have long prehistory's, but if you want to put a date, you may say it was 1943 when three women all published books about individualism, free markets, and constitutionally limited government, and sort of brought together the nucleus of a
movement for those ideas. turnis why we occasionally to public policy to history, and that is why we are delighted to host this event, so please of "fdrthe co-author goes to war: how expanded executive power, spiraling national debt, and restricted civil liberties shaped wartime professor burton folsum. [applause] let me start with opening remarks. we're franklin roosevelt, the president, world war ii, the event. you cannot miss for an exciting book with those topics. just bold,president dramatic, greater than life itself. give the biggest military event in the history of the world, world war ii. had aering this, we tremendous scope, and what we were trying to do in this book is give a history of world war ii 300 pages, readable for
today, for people to grasp the war itself, the president who conducted the war. we have a chapter on pearl harbor, the dramatic attack. anita wrote the section on midway, the turning point militarily for the united states in many ways. you have the generals, eisenhower, patton, bradley, marshall -- all conducting --erprises that were listed enterprises that were essential to the victory for the united states. -- that would make a pivotal difference in the war. then you have the end finally of the great depression. what you the thinking of a generation of americans. coming to an end at the end of world war ii. you have a lot to work with. we worked with those elements in the book -- "fdr goes to war."
i would like it needed to comment on some of these features of world war ii and franklin roosevelt. anita: it is a pleasure to be cato and my old friend david bowles. as burton just said, her goal in writing this book was to make it larger than an economic pick. book to give everyone a that in 300 pages or so, you can get an overview of world war ii, whether you are a young person trying to learn about world war ii. we have a pseudo-that is 26 result -- we have a son that is 26 years old and i can assure you that most of his friends do not know anything about that entire period. and then we have mature you probably have not heard before. i want to set the stage a little bit about the 1930's, and to explain that part of what led to
world war ii being such an up people for the united states were the policies of franklin roosevelt during the 1930's. give you some statistics, i will be brief, for instance, factory output, the output of an american industry increased every decade beginning in 1899 for the following 10 years, factory output was up 4.7%. to 1919, it was up 4.3% every year. 1919 to 1929, the roaring 20's, factory production was up 5.1% each year. decreasedo 1939, it slightly every single year during the 1930's. complex byustrial aged and is out of touch with cutting edge
innovations that are going on in europe and elsewhere. suddenly, we are faced with this problem, a military complex in europe. we do not have anything to compete with them. thehe book am i mentioned army chiefs of staff, douglas macarthur, at one point, testified before congress in 1935 pleading for enough money so that his army would have enough bullets for 100,000 soldiers. we're not talking about stealth bombers or complex weapons, we are talking literally about just having enough bullets to man a 100,000 army. i can understand if you are not for a strong military american presence oversees that we do not necessarily need, but i do think that a strong defense of america
awards off problems, and a 1930's, we sadly did not have that, and germany was aware of that, and so was japan. that leads to a lot of problems. the war comes to the united states in the late 1940's and factors have to be converted. what are you going to do? overnight, for one thing, they restricted products to consumers. overnight, in january, 1942, you could not buy tires for your car. if your tires were getting aged and you thought that you would run down to sears roebuck and get a new set of tires, you were out of luck. the only way you could get another set of tires was to go before the government's tire board and prove that you had an essential reason for getting a new set of tires. radios, bicycles, clocks, even , america could no longer purchase after the spring of 1942. all of those mechanisms were
used in the war effort. most americans supported the second changes. and that was of course, with the wave of patriotism that swept through. everyone wanted to win the war. --y people had new fighting people many people knew men fighting overseas. bombing pearl harbor for the declaration of war was given to the secretary of war -- secretary of state in washington dc, that angered everyone. but what did the government due to suddenly help the american economy beat the war emergency? what it did a lot of the time, began regulating everything. the federal war production board took control of the allocation of almost all materials in the united states and said wherewith they be used -- control of the fuel supply and took control of
industrial production. the war production board is one of the most powerful agencies ever created by the federal government, and would employ literary hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats by the end of the war. the government issued ration books to every american, even babies. in new york city alone, 7 million ration books were issued . rations, you could not purchase shoes, gasoline, many other items. as soon as the ration books were issued, there were all of these unintended consequences. crookes discovered that these ration books were easy to copy. sometimes, we have a picture of world war ii and the solidarity of the american people, but it is like any other time. there is a great deal of craftiness in human nature, and the incentive became, let's just
cannot own ration books, and they did, by the hundreds of thousands. it was big business. also the theft of ration coupons was big business. there is an account of a veteran coming home after serving in the war overseas coming back to central indiana during the latter days of the war. and he is at a rally, a high school rally in central indiana, giving his story of fighting the japanese and all of these hardships he endured, and he went outside to the parking lot after the rally and someone had broken into his car and still in his gas coupons. not as solid as sometimes i think the rosy picture that is painted of the war years. there were a great many struggles, but by a large, most americans did support the war and wanted the united states to wins it. entrepreneurs had to come up with new things on the good side, such as, aircraft manufacturing.
that is where we lagged behind. the most glaring example -- for instance, in 1940, henry ford was asked to get behind mass production of aircraft. this was before we enter the work, but they knew he was good at assembly lines. what can we do to mass-produce airplanes? fort said his son and its top executives out to california. california 1940, was one of the main places where air draft -- work aircraft were built. most of them are put together outside. that sounds just unbelievable, but they were putting planes one at a time, out in the california sunshine. you can have been -- you cannot build 10,000 bombers to do that. ford had to figure out how to do an assembly line. fashion,l henry ford he owned a farm in michigan and turned his farmland into a bomber plant called miller run.
the bomber plant had the largest room in the world to build be 24's. b-2r'a. line curved around. another huge success during world war ii that we often do not realize is the development of penicillin. penicillin was not available before world war ii. -- has been developed and it was a great breakthrough. after pearl harbor, one of the few success stories in the spring of 1942 was not one injured man, who was entered by the japanese bombing of pearl harbor had to have an amputation due to infection. this was a new world and military medicine. theuse the salt prevented
infectious and they used it liberally come and it worked and everyone was thrilled, but the problem with salt was that it did not deal with extremely deep wound infections in the abdomen or the chest. those are so common in war. penicillin had to be developed, and that was down with the help of the british. -- of course, penicillin had been discovered in the 1920's, and even before that, chemists knew that certain types of mold killed bacteria. course, fleming publicized and discovered penicillin. in 1941, the british brought over strains of penicillin they had. with their limited capacity because they were strained by the war effort, they had only been able to develop enough penicillin for five patients. they tried it on five extremely ill patients and they knew it worked extremely well and they brought it over and said to the department of agriculture and the united states, do you think
you could grow penicillin? they said they would try to was a great relationship -- partnership between -- it took a year and a half, but revolutionize medicine for the american soldier and the american public because by 1945, penicillin was available for american citizens, and we were very soon, very could be sending it overseas, so that is one of the better success stories of world war ii. but overall, the american public was challenged pulling together, and this wartime emergency, knowing that the japanese were sailing off the coast of california, and knowing that hiller had overrun europe, they met the challenge. enter the entrepreneurship and the spirit of the american people, made these great contributions. now, burton is going to come and talk about the economic and what got us out of -- at the in the war and of the great depression.
burt? burton: you know, we look at world war ii and franklin agoevelt, seems so long since the bombing of pearl harbor -- and you do not really realize that much of american politics from foreign policy to domestic policy, is shaped by the events that happened in world war ii. frank and roosevelt was very anxious for an active role of government in the american economy. world war two provides that in a big way and anita has gone into some of those details. but roosevelt wanted it that way after the work, too. that is the important thing. so during the war, franklin roosevelt created the national resources planning board. they were supposed to take ideas for after the war to run the american economy. and inlt picked this up
a state of the union speech in 1944, he talked about the economic bill of rights. the economic bill of rights, and i quote from parts of it -- it includes the right to a useful and remunerative job. family to a every decent home. the right to a good education. the right to adequate medical care. these become new rights, which roosevelt described as the new economic bill of rights. sometimes he called it the second bill of rights. and they roll off the tongue so nicely, don't they? don't we all want decent homes? the right to a good education. the right to a useful and remunerative job. roosevelt issued these, and these become the plan for after
world war ii. when the war is over, then these rights can be given forth. if you think about it, if anita has a right to a useful and remunerative job, then someone here has an obligation to provide that job. if i have a right to a decent home, taxpayers have an obligation to provide that home. if david has a right to adequate there arere, then hospitals owe through federal funding of some kind, those hospitals, those physicians are obligated to supply that medical care. how different is this from the first bill of rights, the rights of free speech does not impose obligations on you to even listen to the speech, least of all except it or pay for it. the right to freedom of
religion, we are in a church here -- the freedom -- the right of freedom of religion does not obligate anyone to go to a certain church. it just provides the opportunity for someone to practice freedom of religion. the first bill of rights by the founders are rights. the second bill of rights impose obligations and involved the government in a big way. what we see in the war is a huge tax structure being set up, which roosevelt will 20's after the war and it will be used after the war to find more federal programs. year defra frozen roosevelt was elected president, -- in 1932, the year that franklin d roosevelt was elected president, it was the most had said anyone had to pay. top incomes. most americans did not pay income tax at all. in some ways, that -- there is a problem with that.
we only had 5% of americans paying any income tax as right before the war in 1940. war, twod of the thirds of american families were paying the federal income tax. and it started at 24%. the exemption was only $500. if you made over $500, you started paying the 24%. that been increased in a progressive way up to a maximum income overl $200,000. that means that if you want $300,000 on your third $100,000, you keep $6,000. you get to the government $94,000. a lot of people thought, hey, that might stifle entrepreneurship. it iselt believed
essential in providing decent homes, good education, adequate medical care, this will be the basis of the funding of those kinds of actions. so, what we see is a dramatic increase in the taxpayer base, and in tax revenue. we see withholding introduced for the first time. we have a chapter on that that will be introduced that will take money directly out of paychecks so the government can use it right away, rather than having to week for a year. -- rather than having to wait for a year. . what we see as a defense from franklin roosevelt -- i would like to read from a kentucky senator. senator happy chandler, democratic chama from kentucky, the state were david was born and where anita was born. but neither of them agrees with happy chandler, at least on this point. he said this -- quote -- all of us over the government. we owe it for everything we have.
and that is the basis of obligation and the government can take everything we have if it needs it. the government can assert its right to have all the taxes it needs for any purpose, either now, or and anytime in the at any time in the future. the chandler view expressed on we pulled floor, and us out of the congressional record, are part at the defense of government becoming -- or at the defense of the government coming the main source, of not only for the economy for providing jobs, for providing health care and the tax revenue going into the government. -- government programs kid the government programs can provide jobs, decent homes, and good education. when we got to the end of the war, roosevelt died.
every treatment comes in. harry truman agrees with roosevelt on many of these issues. they are different kinds of people. but on these issues, truman is ready to go along with a lot of this. in.an comes the economic planners are wanting to institute this. they think the war is going to go on until 1946. germany surrenders in 1945 here it it appears it will go on for a long time. truman did not know about the atomic bomb. that is one of the shocks peering roosevelt and never informed temp that it was being developed. one of the opting for the day truman became president, he did not know we had an atomic tom, but stalin did. ironies of history, the russians knew we had it, the president of united states did not. happily, secretary of war simpson told that to truman early in his presidency, so now, he knew. and when he made the decision to
use it on japan in august, congress is out of session. it takes most of america by surprise august 6. an atomic bomb on hiroshima august 9, on nagasaki. congress is out of session in the war is over. the planners had not had a chance to come in with their programs. admittedly, truman wants to get them back into session, by this time, some of the congressmen were saying, you know what, this 94% tax will not get america back on track. here is truman's secretary of treasury, gives you an idea where the americans were who favor this kind of intervention. attains had come out with his ideas -- he came out with ideas that you needed lots of intervention and you would eliminate unemployment through that. secretary of treasury vincent, fred vincent, truman's
secretary of treasury says, quote -- the japanese have surrendered and he wants massive government and omission and says history shows us this agriculture can not end and maintenance of high level of maintenance and employment. in other words, markets don't work. the government must assume responsibility and take measures to make the issues. a reporter completely agrees, as to many other reporters. stones has come a new men, new ideas are necessary and quickly if we are not to suffer a relapse into chronic mass unemployment. the wars' transfusions are no ailingavailable to an capitalism. 12 million soldiers are coming home immediately we have these heavy government programs for them. without massive
government programs, new programs to build roads, new programs to train people, truman these programs, wanted to build, like the tennessee valley authority, others all around the country, other types of public works programs. other types of dams, building a public works, very much in truman's mind. they predicted, we had for me and veterans coming home. 18enator said i predict million unemployed. it will be worse than 24% when roosevelt came at office. magazine" -- others estimated, maybe 10 million or 12 million unemployed. but that was so put it at 12%. addictions were very high for
unemployment. -- predictions were very high for unemployment. the chairman of the senate finance committee, senator walter george of georgia said -- he supported a revenue tax rates, that cut but he said this -- if this revenue act has the effect that we hope it will have, it will stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue and create more jobs at the same time. in other words, i think we can get more revenue into the government, and get more jobs created if because the tax rates and allow businesses to expand. it was a model completely different from the roosevelt model and economic bill of rights. republicans -- republican of new jersey set this -- the repeal of the excess profit tax, in my opinion, may
raise more revenue for the united states then would be raised if it was retained, and it was in 90%. 90%. we had a 90% corporate tax and hawkes is saying, if you cut 90%, i think we can not only create more jobs because you stimulate business but you'll actually grow the , economy and get more revenue at the same time. and hawks added this statement, senator hawks, you cannot get a golden egg out of a dead goose. we have had a great depression
, television, xerox, copy machines, all of these entrepreneurs and many more come forward after world war ii and we see a tremendous growth. one of the most exciting statistics is this. we have 39 million people employed in civilian, nonmilitary, that goes up to 55 million. the stock market increased by 20% in 1946. private gross national product increased 40%. the first and only time it had done that in u.s. history and the experts were estimating, i think we will get $31 million into the federal treasury and 1946, 1947. we got $31 billion. we had $43 billion. we increased that by more than 25% because the economy had expanded so much more than
people anticipated. the end result is that we have 3.9% unemployment in 1946. 3.9% unemployment in 1947. the united states has the -- this burgeoning growth rate, and when europe, who is trying the casein means to get back on their feet, when they are failing, the united states is able to send tons and tons of food over to feed the europeans who at different points were dying at the rate of one per those deaths were curtailed by second. free food the united states and -- sent over after the war. we sent that food, the economy recovered, and we cut the federal deficit during 1946 and 1947. slightly. we cut it in part because the revenue so much exceeded expectations. what i am saying is this, we have a lot during world war ii
that gives lessons for today, what works and what does not work in an expanding economy. the taxes we have come to expect today, the economic bill of rights, the right to education, which we have seen, for example, with the student loan program and president obama. we've seen changes with the housing development -- the right to a decent home going with urban renewal, and the community reinvestment act of the 1970's which promises very low interest rates to poor people so they can -- can have homes which accelerates the mortgage crisis that has become unhinged, and the right to medical care so i -- we see with president obama and obamacare. the politics of today heavily saw happen in we world war ii. what we saw happen if we study it more carefully is that we got out of the great depression by freeing up the economy and cutting tax rates, not by following the prescription to
increase and perpetuate the high economic growth that we experienced during world war ii. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, bert and anita. we will open this up for questions now. please wait until a microphone gets to you so we get everything. i am going to ask the first question. that is, i read this book and i found it a more straight forward and sober history than i thought from the title, "how expanded executive power, spiraling national debt and restricted civil liberties shaped wartime america." i wonder if the marketers wrote the subtitle? [applause] >> actually, that subtitle was developed by simon & schuster
publishers, but the person who developed it did it on the basis of saying i deduce this from a content of the book and i think it was a very reasonable deduction because what we see is exist -- expanded executive power, the growth of the board, the price can -- the growth of the production board, the price control control, rationing, the spiralling national debt. listen, the national debt doubled the first year of the first two terms of his presidency. then it increased sixfold during world war ii. what you have at the end of world war ii is a national debt of $260 billion and the interest to pay that was about what the whole national debt was when roosevelt began -- became president. we have gone am having a national debt of $20 billion to having an interest rate of on $20 billion the national debt that was almost $300 billion. what i am suggesting is the national debt and the growth of
federal spending and that economic bill of rights, which roosevelt had hoped would perpetuate that into the future is a big part of the war. and the civil liberties, we have not done as much with a record -- with japanese-americans -- most of them were interned. roosevelt started using wiretaps extensively. it is essential for national defense. enemies might be sending messages. suddenly he wiretaps messages in. you grant him that and pretty soon he is wiretapping republicans and wiretapping his wife, eleanor. we see an abuse of the civil liberties as well, as well as shutting down magazines and newspapers that opposed him, so much so that francis biddle, his own attorney general, was having to fight him on a lot of this. i think that is a fair deduction of the contents of the book although i have to give our publisher, simon & schuster credit for doing the subtitle. credit for doing the subtitle.
we got the main title, "fdr goes , to war." >> questions. yes? right there. is stephen short. i was a little bit thrown by the title of the book. granted that the tax rates reached prewar levels, but the other instances, the rationing direction of production to win the war, the consequences of the expanding debt, i am not at all convinced that any other president would have not ended up at the same locus after a two-ocean war. >> part of our premise is that one of the reasons we wound up in the two-ocean war is because we were so weak during the 1930's. we have information in "fdr goes to war." fdr cut military spending during
the 1930's in terms of the percentage of military spending in the federal budget. this was on top of the fact that during herbert hoover's presidency, the preceding president military budgets were , very low. the american military was incredibly weak and incredibly behind the rest of the world. we were something like 17th in terms of military strength and innovation. fdr, as we show all during 1940 and 1941 before pearl harbor, he has already declared emergency -- military emergencies. he has taken over power in -- with lots of executive orders and he is not putting these agencies under the control of congress or other individuals. he has 15 defense agencies under the president's office.
it is called the office of emergency management and it is directly supervised by franklin roosevelt. we list some of his grabs for power. i agree, any president faced with a war emergency has to do certain things, but the extent to which roosevelt looked at this as an opportunity to really put his big government ideas into action and you especially get this with taxation. he had been wanting high rates of withholding from a huge percentage of americans for his entire life and he used the war emergency to get that through. >> yes. >> two things really quickly, the standard narrative for the post war boom is the more spending built up this enormous pent-up demand in americans and i think the narrative you've
explained is a counter to that because of centers on reduce -- reduced regulations and reduced tax rates. the question is, if truman was so aligned with roosevelt on this matter, do you believe that if roosevelt had not died -- that he was so -- still healthy, that he somehow would have managed to do what truman -- according to you -- wanted to do, but because of political naivete or whatever, failed to do. would roosevelt have done that and if he would have done what he wanted to do, keep tax rates high, pursue the more keynesian rather than supply side strategy then we wouldn't have had the postwar boom. would roosevelt have been likely to continue the new deal
programs, the new deal movement than truman? was it just truman's political naivete? >> i think that that accounts for some of it. it's a good question. roosevelt, of course, had vast experience dealing with congress and had enormous confidence he could get his way on most things. the new deal revival was his plan for postwar america. of course, he died before he could do that. truman buys into this. remember, he didn't even know we had an atomic bomb. he's sitting there trying to appoint cabinet members, try to figure out what is going on because roosevelt kept him in the dark. plus, as a senator, he hadn't had that close of access to the executive branch. he is still learning in -- the job and he hasn't developed the political skills yet to be able to get what roosevelt might have been able to get. then the question is could roosevelt have achieved this?
it is one of these counterfactual questions. you wonder if roosevelt could have been able to do it. i am not sure he would have been able to do so. i need a, what do you think -- anita, what do you think? >> one interesting side of this and we point this out is that fdr had lost a lot of clout in congress in 1939 and 1940. his court packing scheme in 1938 really angered a lot of peoplef and he also tried to purge various members of congress and the senate. one of them was senator tidings from a maryland and if you notice in the book tidings leads , the filibuster to defeat several of the proposals that fdr wants passed before the congress adjourns in the summer of 1939 and he is delighted to do that because he sees fdr as
an enemy. people were very suspicious of him and the way he manipulated. >> it is tricky, too because he was sick. working 20 hours a day -- or 20 hours a week. he had gone from 20 hours a day to 20 hours a week. his physician simply said the stress, he had high blood pressure and he couldn't take it so he was only working half-time. it is hard to be affected when you are only working half-time. i don't think he would have been able to do it. the other thing is that walter george was the subject of a purge. roosevelt tried to get george out of office, which is one of the reasons why he was so hostile to roosevelt's attitudes in world war ii. you have the chairman of the senate finance committee opposing you. you have this large block of republicans opposing you. i think roosevelt would have been likely not to be successful. it is hard to say. he would have tried and every
time you try to think roosevelt could not pull this off, sometimes he gets something on someone and that person ends up being an ally and is able to put it off. certainly it was easier for senator george and senator hawkes dealing with truman that it would've been a healthy roosevelt. >> it should be noted, another political change there is the senators roosevelt tried to purge were democrats, not republicans. it was democratic primaries he tried to intervene in. >> yes. his own democratic senators, and if you're looking at the influence of fdr on truman and other presidents, waiting in the wings is lyndon johnson, and lyndon johnson is a new member of congress and he is soaking up everything fdr does in terms of patronage and bake government programs and is a big help to fdr in the national elections of 1940. >> roosevelt has a delicate task manipulating civil liberties. for example, he wants to put moses annenberg in prison.
he is the editor of the philadelphia inquirer, a republican paper, and it threatens to bring pennsylvania back into the republican column. -- go after in in berg itenberg in an irs audit and turns out he -- the irs is going after johnson, too and johnson comes to roosevelt and roosevelt has to pull the irs off of johnson so they can continue to be roosevelt's man in texas and put it on annenberg to make sure he goes to prison. you have a maneuvering and he pulled both of those off. he was someone when you are dealing with the executive branch could be very powerful. >> yes, in the back.
>> were you both united in the way you viewed economic relations or the lack of economic relations between the united states and japan leading up to world war ii? how surprised do you believe the united states was by the attack on pearl harbor? >> i think we were pretty united in our view on that and that is something i did the majority of the work for on the book, so i will answer first. we do think -- we point out in the book in the early pages, in 1933, before fdr is even inaugurated as president, he is talking with two of his advisers, molly and tug well -- and they are big new dealers, both are going to be part of his brain trust. they are both columbia professors.
they totally believe in a government directed economy and - of course, those directing the economy should be intellect. -- intellectuals. that he has to them always favored china and he thinks a war with japan might work better if it is sooner than later, so why not. he had -- fdr had that flippant side to his nature and i will point out, he had never been in a foxhole. he had never been in the military. he had never been shot at. he took all of that rather lightly and when you look at the men who died in the pacific in ,he early days of world war ii i find that really appalling that he let them go into those exposed areas such as guam and wake island and parts of the philippines with such a bad weapons and many of the men who died in those conflicts i believe could blame fdr. as far as pearl harbor goes, i do think we cut off the japanese -- the japanese off from their
resources. an interesting study is to read the papers of ambassador joseph grew who was in tokyo all during the 1930's and he is pleading with washington to put off this embargo. he is pleading and saying there is a peace faction in the japanese and we can build that if you will put the embargo off . roosevelt and -- already determined to embargo oil and scrap iron, and they make it difficult for the japanese to receive any of that, so the japanese war party gains ascendancy in tokyo and plans harbor -- harbor -- pearl harbor. we say -- people always say do you think fdr knew about pearl harbor? i think fdr he knew an attack was coming, and he knew an attack is probably coming the first of december, the first two weeks of december, but where was a going to be? almost everyone thought it would
be on singapore and probably the philippines. the japanese had 50,000 troops in saigon, vietnam, back then french indochina. moving from french indochina to the philippines or singapore was not an easy thing so fdr and general marshall had the war department worn the bases to go on high alert. had anblem was that if i hour, i could go over what happened at pearl harbor. it is a perfect storm of mistakes and everyone there believes they were in command, but they were in command with the attitude of it doesn't matter anyway because we are really not going to be attacked so why bother? , that is a bad way to do it. other commanders had done that, but if it was 1932, 1934, 19 36, sash or 1936 and you were a commander in hawaii, you could have that and -- attitude and you were fine and you could spend two years in hawaii and not do all lot.
in december of 1941, it was a poor way to run things. i do not think fdr directly knew it would be pearl harbor, but he knew an attack was coming. what i blame him foremost with pearl harbor is he had given 1900 and i after -- antiaircraft guns away to other countries and had given away hundreds of fire planes. i will give hawaii this much credit they did not have the , weapons either. they were very shorthanded. admiral richardson had gotten fired -- we point this out in the book -- he was pacific fleet commander in 1940 and a realist and i think a very capable officer. he went to the white house finally in october of 1940's, and argued, which you did not do for two hours with franklin , roosevelt about keeping the fleet at pearl harbor, and he said we are vulnerable and need to move the fleet back to california.
became pretty heated and he finally told franklin roosevelt, mr. president i have , to inform you that most of the leaders of the pacific fleet do not have confidence in you to lead our navy. fdr did not do anything at that precise moment. he would not act on what , fdrrdson said and finally was reelected the next month, 1944 a third term in right after the election he fires joe richardson. you have to think about -- i don't know a movie has gone into the life of admiral richardson or not, but he is back in the united states on the day pearl harbor is attacked, and he is sitting there getting all that news and he knows, i warned them over a year ago, and it still happened. >> thanks. tim lynch with cato. did fdr acknowledge any limits,
constitutional limits on the power of commander in chief in -- during world war ii? you mentioned the internment of the japanese and i have also read historical accounts about when he set up the military tribunals. some of the historical accounts i have read said that he let it he known through back channels that if the supreme court tries to challenge my authority to try and execute these people through military tribunals, i am going to execute them anyway. i just wonder if he acknowledge to any limits on the power of commander in chief during wartime, whether the bill of rights had any applications. >> i have not seen any. if he did, i have not run across it. >> i have never seen any. >> he tended not to like to talk about those things. judging by his actions, and i have not seen in the indications he felt there were those particular restrictions that applied to him during wartime.
>> fdr reminds me sometimes, that or i could say bill clinton reminds me of fdr because i think both men are really smart and careful not to step on landmines if they don't have to and so fdr just frequently ignored the constitution. he simply ignored it. >> let me ask a follow-up. for the past four years, we have debated a good bit whether the new deal model, getting out of the great depression is a good model for getting out of the great recession today. there have been people on both sides, many sides of that. should there be a similar debate on whether roosevelt's treatment of civil liberties in wartime is a model for what we've done since 9/11 or should be as a cautionary model? >> that's good. 110,000t, by putting japanese americans into
internment camps has gone way beyond anything we have seen today, but roosevelt, keep in mind, there was a political angle to that. that not only did governor earl warren into cs to clean endorse doing that, the motive seems to be heavily political. anita and i would talk about this often because the japanese were such good workers and had been successful in the vegetable industry, that many anglo-saxons felt competitive pressures. if you were to have polled california, you would find there was a majority of non-japanese that thought if we get these guys out of the way, that is a good thing. roosevelt played to that to put them into the internment camps. even though j edgar hoover at the fbi said they are not dangerous, let's not do this. roosevelt did it anyway and the attorney general did not like it. roosevelt enjoyed the political success of removing them. not only are they removed and
cannot vote against him but they , are removed and those people in california and elsewhere dos -- are going to be voting for roosevelt. the western coordinator, with finallythe western coordinator, with the japanese saying, why , are they still here? this is in 1943, they have been here for years. we let some of them out. they join the army and they are highly decorated people. why are we letting this group -- you might indict an individual who show signs of having made overtures that should cause him to be investigated. you're talking about whole group of people, grandma, the six-year-old, all of these people being hauled into these camps. it was atrocious. so you have people who are actually in charge of the camp saying, no, this is not right, and roosevelt keeps it going and keeps it going and finally secretary aitkin says, you know what? i have been around roosevelt a long time. i have a feeling that after the might change.s
sure enough, the cabinet meeting first after the 1944 election after roosevelt is safely elected, three house seats have been gained in then we work on getting the japanese out of the internment camps. i think some of it is a civil liberties issue, but a lot of it is a politics issue. in other words there are , political advantages to roosevelt to choose this. -- i want to add that there were military people who thought they should put the japanese in the camps. it wasn't just roosevelt. there are many who said don't do this, and there were some that -- some that said let's do and roosevelt said let's put them in there and took political advantage of this and lifted the restrictions when he was safely reelected. >> all right, we will take one last question here. >> i just want to ask a couple of questions. one is that 90% plus corporate tax rate you were talking about excess profit, was that applied across the board to companies
or was that part of some sort of corporate tax system? >> it was across the board. you had an earnings restriction, but it was not very high. really, most companies were caught if it not at the 90% level, the close to it. certainly all major corporations had been caught at the 90% level and so that was in place. it is important to note that roosevelt and many of his followers wanted to keep it that way or at least close to it. after the war, it was going to be a source of revenue for getting people their right to a decent home, a decent education, and the right to a good -- to a job. >> just on the politics of truman, could he have vetoed these reductions in taxes if you -- he had wanted to? >> yes, he could have and didn't. he went along with it. he was not enthusiastic about it, but he went along with it. i'm not sure if roosevelt would have vetoed it. but again, roosevelt is gone and
you are trying to think what would he have done? truman was willing at least on this first tax cut to go along with it. part of it was is he is new on his job. congress is urging him to do it. when further further tax cuts were passed by congress in 1946 and 1947, he vetoed them again and again and again and ran against them in 1948 calling them tax cuts for the rich and made that the basis, fundamental basis for his 1948 campaign for re-election. vetoed all these tax cuts, most of the money was going back to the rich, i am for the little guy. >> all right. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website c-span.org/ history. you can preview upcoming programs and watch college lectures, museum tours, films and more.
american history tv at c-span.org/history. tonight on q&a, the comparisons between donald trump and andrew jackson. our gusest mark teedo. cheethum. >> he certainly represent some of the negative values that jackson represented, but i think i would tell president trump that if he wants to be like and yo-- andrew jackson he has to put nation in front of his own interest because that is what jackson did for most of his presidency. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. this weekend on american history tv, author lynn cheney
discusses james madison's health problems of political career. explains her writing process and madison's relationship with the founders. here is a preview. dr. cheney: madison made many decisions but perhaps the wisest payne marry dolly todd. he was out walking and a spring day in 1794 when he caught sight of her and was smitten. this happened regularly to men who saw dolly. she was 5'8", shapely figure, andk hair, blue eyes a pale complexion. she came from a quaker family which had not for her been a good fit. she was inclined for the gaieties of the world, one quaker woman row. and this is my favorite story.
a quaker matron recalled that during an effort to convince dolly of the seriousness of life, the young girl first smiled, then afterward fell fast asleep. the 26-year-old dolly was recently widowed. her husband john had died from yellow fever. and so had her three-month-old son, leaving her with a who was two. dolly iswho was 43, 26. i don't you to miss that. turned to ehrenberg, this is the one big thing, -- turned to aaron burr, everybody knew everybody. he turned to aaron burr because he and burr had gone to princeton together an arrangement reduction. dolly was thrilled with the
prospect. thou mustto a friend, come to see me. aaron burr is bringing the "great little madison to see me." jameswore satin to greet and four months later they were married. >> watch the entire program 2 p.m. eastern sunday. this is american history tv only on c-span 3. on afterwards, precision and journalism elizabeth rosenthal examines the business side of health care in her book "an american sickness, how health care became big business and how you can take it back." dr. rosenthal is interviewed by dr. david blumenthal, president of the commonwealth fund.
>> ira wondering if your book gave you any thoughts about whether health care is a free market, whether we can solve our problems in health care through free market forces. >> well, i think what we have seen is the answer is probably not. the beginning of the book i put a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of the economic rules of the dysfunctional health-care market where if you think of health care as purely a business proposition, the market will follow. you get to crazy places like, you know, a lifetime of treatment is preferable to a cure. a second thatr anyone really thinks that but that is where market forces put you now. >> watch afterwards tonight at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span 2's bookt v. tv. -- book tv.
>> next on history tv, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell talks about former kentucky governor and u.s. senator wendell ford. mcconnell focuses on ford's early life on a dairy farm, his entry into politics, his campaign for majority whip, and his lasting legacy on kentucky politics. the wendell ford government education center in ellensburg, kentucky hosted this 45 minute long event. [applause] >> good afternoon everyone. my name is elizabeth griffith, the executive director of the wendell ford government education center. it is my pleasure to welcome you to this historic tribute lecture honoring senator wendell ford featuring majority leader mitch